web analytics
April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Reality ‘Check’: The Buck Does Stop…

Share Button

Young adults in the thousands have recently returned from a year (or two or three) in Israeli yeshivas and seminaries, full of youthful exuberance and idealism. Many who planned on going to college have now decided that secular studies or employment are not for them. They want to be full time learners, or marry one.

The girls in particular see themselves as neshei chayil - they will work and be the breadwinner of the family and basically raise their kids on their own so that they can free up their husband’s time so he can immerse himself in Torah.

These naïve young ladies have what I call the Rebbetzin Akiva Syndrome. This state of mind is named after Rochel, the wife of Rabbi Akiva, a girl brought up in the lap of luxury. She gave it all up to marry Akiva, determined that her husband devote all his time to learning, even if it meant that he was away from home most of the time and she would have a very reduced standard of living. Those teachers and principals who have influenced these impressionable kids to go on that derech may genuinely feel that they are putting them on the path of true Torah happiness. But I can’t help wonder if discussions on the spiritual beauty of such as lifestyle were balanced out with a reality check.

Without doubt, sacrificing physical and emotional comfort all in the cause of Torah is a very noble aspiration, but daydreams can turn into living nightmares when reality hits. While many girls plan on emulating Mrs. Akiva, they, not surprisingly, are not made up of the same stuff.
Eventually, the day to day actuality of juggling babies, working outside the home, household chores and crises and dealing with endless, unavoidable expenses become overwhelming for many of these girls, many of whom grew up in homes where there was money to pay for bills as needed and on time. Usually there was money for hired help to keep the house presentable, and funds and time for the lady of the house to take care of her own needs.

When I was a teenager, a kallah came into my family’s shoe-store (I helped out on Sundays) and with pride and radiant eyes told me that after her chasanah - (a lovely affair that her financially comfortable parents made for her) – she was going to live in Eretz Yisrael and work while her husband went to yeshiva. I wished her well but I had a feeling that she didn’t know what she was getting into. About four years later, I bumped into her. This time her eyes were dull with weariness and her face was haggard, making her look years older than her mid-twenties. She was still the ayshes chayil - working and being for all intents and purposes a
single mother (she had two pre-schoolers and was expecting) while her husband learned.

No doubt that over the ensuing years, this girl’s parents helped her financially, but then again, she had several brothers and sisters who also wanted a learning lifestyle. While the parents who were professionals might have the financial ability to help their married children, I doubt
there was enough money to go around for the next generation when collectively, there would be at least 20-30 grandchildren. These children when they grow up – as some of them are doing - will between them likely have over 100 children. Even millionaires would have trouble paying the rent or mortgage for so many.

Some young men who are learning are doing what’s practical but unfair – they only go out with wealthier girls because parnasah has to come from somewhere, and stressed-out wives are not conducive to a healthy marriage. Thus, as a worried yeshivish father wrote recently in The Jewish Press, his outstanding daughters were having trouble getting dates because he is not wealthy. The sad part of all this is that some of these learners aren’t even genuine – they are mediocre students looking for a free ride through life.

The fact is – not everyone is cut out to handle long term struggling – and there is nothing to be ashamed about that. And those young men and women who are leaning towards a college education or business should not be made to feel that they copped out and let their rebbis/ teachers down. Ironically, these are the baalei-battim who years later have the financial wherewithal to support the yeshivas and kollels.

After the Holocaust, there was a crucial need for an infusion of Torah learning to replace that what was destroyed in Europe. Today, with Hashem’s help, Yiddishkeit has been replenished. At this juncture, as a frum doctor pointed out, getting into a Kollel should be as hard as getting
into Harvard Medical School. Only the genuine article, young men whose hearts are in learning, the creme de la creme, should be accepted into long term learning programs and supported. The free-riders should be weeded out. Seminaries should paint a realistic view of life as the wife of a learner – both the good and the challenges.

One can’t live on ideals… and the buck stops… eventually, leaving entire generations of poverty-stricken families. For the sake of shalom bayis and the well-being of our sons and daughters, it’s time for the schools to present all the possibilities so that the kids can make informed choices, without shame or guilt.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Reality ‘Check’: The Buck Does Stop…”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Mock Eviction Notice shoved under the doors of students' rooms in predominantly Jewish NYU dorm by NYU SJP.
NYU Latest Site of Anti-Israel Mock Eviction Notices
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

More Articles from Cheryl Kupfer
Kupfer-032814

A young lady in her early 20’s, “Sarah” was redt to “Shlomie” a boy from her home town who learned in an out-of-town yeshiva. The families know each other well, which in today’s shidduch scene is a big plus – since it was therefore unlikely the kids would “fall in” due to misinformation and misinterpretations.

Kupfer-031414

I came to the conclusion a long time ago that I have to do what is right for me – as long as it’s “ halachically kosher” and doesn’t negatively impact on others – and not worry too much about what others think.

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that is precisely what almost always happens in situations where a reference knew someone had serious but hidden emotional issues, but did not reveal the information to the person making inquiries.

Time never stood still for anyone – why would I be the exception? In my hubris, I thought that somehow I would live forever – and I suspect we all have secretly felt that way, even though we know it’s a fantasy.

One can argue that forgetting something on a regular basis is a sign of advancing age and it’s time to for a neurological evaluation, but based on the number of young people who need to replace a lost smart phone (too bad it’s not smart enough to warn its owner that that they have become separated – or is there an app for that too?), I safely can say that losing “stuff” cuts across the generations.

For quite a few days in late December, Toronto was transformed into a breathtaking – literally and figuratively – frigid winter wonderland, where every twig, leaf, car door, and outdoor wire and cable was totally encased in ice. When the sun shone the landscape was blindingly brilliant as if billions of diamonds had been glued to everything the eye could see.

Outside is a winter-white wonderland replete with dazzling trees, wires, and sidewalks seemingly wrapped in glittery silver foil. It’s quite lovely to look at, which is about all I can do since I’m stuck indoors. Icicle-laden tree branches are bent and hunch-backed by the frozen heaviness of their popsicle-like burden, and the voices squawking from the battery-operated transistor radio I am listening to are warning people not to go out since walkways and roads are extremely slippery, and there is real danger from falling trees.

The necessity of speaking up when you “have a hunch” applies even more when it comes to shidduchim. One little girl did just that – she said something – and I was fortunate enough to be in town for the very joyful, lively wedding that resulted from her speaking up.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/reality-check-the-buck-does-stop/2003/09/03/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: